11.18.2017

Pumpkin and Spice and Everything Nice

I have never been on the "everything pumpkin" bandwagon.

Sure, I like pumpkin, but it’s not something I yearn for all year, and I don’t think I have ever craved it.

Given a fresh pumpkin, my natural instinct would be to make it into soup. Or gnocchi. Or ravioli.

But everyone else - well, lots of people anyway - love to spice it up and sweeten it for dessert.

And, that’s okay. In fact, I do like pumpkin pie, and my friend Patricia's recipe is my favorite. Lots of spices and cream (unlike my grandmother’s, which called for evaporated milk).

I saw today’s recipe on my friend Inger's blog, Art of Natural Living, and it reminded me of Patricia's pie. Only without the crust, and with a crunchy topping. I think I just got pulled up onto the bandwagon!

I really liked Inger's crème brûlée, and made only a couple of minor changes - I added a lot more spice, and I used white sugar (over brown) for the topping. If you don’t want to "brûlée" the custards, simply serve them with a dollop of whipped cream instead of the sugar topping.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

~ David

Maple Pumpkin Crème Brûlée
Minimally adapted from Inger's recipe

1/2 cup pumpkin puree
6 tablespoons maple syrup
1 cup heavy cream
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
sugar for topping
whipped cream, optional


Heat oven to 325°F. In 9-inch square pan, place 4 ceramic ramekins.

In small bowl, slightly beat egg yolks with wire whisk. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until well blended. Strain into a pouring vessel, then pour evenly into ramekins.

Carefully place pan with ramekins in oven. While in oven, pour enough boiling water into pan, being careful not to splash water into ramekins, until water covers two-thirds of the height of the ramekins.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes until the center of the custard is set but jiggly.

Carefully transfer ramekins individually to cooling rack. Refrigerate until chilled, approximately 2 hours.

Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of sugar over each chilled custard, then rotate and tilt the ramekin to evenly distribute the sugar. Using a torch, heat the sugar until it melts and turns a medium caramel color. Alternatively, place under pre-heated broiler to brown. Or, as I mentioned, simply serve the custards with a dollop of whipped cream. 


Makes 4 servings.

40 comments:

  1. I like pumpkin but rarely cook with it , I use butternut squash for some of my recipes. But I love creme brûlée and your recipe looks fantastic.

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    1. Thanks, Gerlinde - I hope you have a great trio to Germany!

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  2. I think a caramelized crackle crust is a wonderful addition to those pumpkin spices. It just makes sense. GREG

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  3. Yes, the world sure knows when its pumpkin time in the States. Sweet pumpkin recipes everywhere!

    My thinking is generally along the savoury use of pumpkin, much like yours, David. Although there are a couple that involve sweetening. My mother's pumpkin strudel and, um, I can't think of any others! Looks like I'm leaning towards this crème brûlée!

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    1. Well, your mother's strudel has me excited about pumpkin, too. I am working on a savory pumpkin pie now... will keep you posted!

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  4. Dear David, if you ask me, there is no such thing as having too many pumpkin recipes. And I love the combination of pumpkin and spices a LOT. This Maple Pumpkin Crème Brûlée looks like perfection, wonderfully presented with seasonal props and expertly executed!
    Well done, my friend!
    Euch noch einen schönen Sonntag und viele liebe Grüße!
    Andrea

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    1. Tanks, Andrea - know a lot of people out there who feel that! It is the best time of the year for you all!

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  5. Mmmmm.. Yummy! I would drop my plant based diet to eat this! Just once, you know, he, he. As I like to say, "It's not a religion." I have always loved creme brulee but have only made it once in my life. Mmmmmmm.

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    1. That is right, Caterina - no God will smite you for eating this little bit of heaven!

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    1. I did not know this, Carolyne. I will keep that in mind for future recipes!

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  7. Hi David, I've never been on the pumpkin bandwagon but each year I find myself being pulled deeper and deeper towards the pumpkiness, think I'm close to being there now. Love Brûlée and this looks magical, way to go!!

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    1. I think many of us are in the same position, Cheri - if you can't bet 'em, join 'em?

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  8. I like pumpkin but it’s not got the following in the UK that it has in America so I’ve only really been using it since starting my blog as that is what is so popular for about 6 weeks a year. I have certainly grown to appreciate it over the years as a baking ingredient. Your pumpkin desserts do look very inviting.

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    1. Thanks, Emma - yes we yankees go go wild for pumpkin - coffee, tea, rolls, breads, you name it. It's pumpkin all the time. I just feel that less is more.

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  9. Dessert . . . who?. . . me ? . . . . never!! Never had this! Never thought of this! Grinning - methinks this may be something special for me and friends to try . . .

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    1. I assure you it is worth it, Eha - the flavors are pretty perfect!

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  10. I love Crème Brûlée and I think it's a great, unique way to use pumpkin this time of year. I think I typically have one foot in the pumpkin bandwagon. ;-)

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    1. But you do such creative things with that one foot, Valentina!!

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  11. These are so pretty - I saw them on your Instagram - perfect for this time of year.

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    1. For once, Caroline, I am in synch with the food community, It's almost serendipity.

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  12. Hi David, you know I'm a pumpkin-spice- everything girl and this is the prettiest pumpkin dessert I've seen!! I'm sure it's completely rich and delicious. Will have to up my pumpkin game and try this one :) Happy Thanksgiving to you and Mark!!

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    1. The nicest thing about this dessert is how incredibly easy it is, Marcelle! And for a "pumpkin & spice girl," I can assure you it’s fantastic.

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  13. David, though I like a savory ravioli or soup or whatever made with butternut squash, I always go sweet with pumpkin. But, obviously, not TOO sweet because when I make a pumpkin pie for just us, I only use 3 or 4 tablespoons of sugar for a whole pie that usually has 4 times the sugar! I love the look of these little Crème Brûlée - glad you sort of jumped on the pumpkin bandwagon temporarily! Lovely.

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    1. Jean - you are so much better behaved than I! I reduced th sugar in my pumpkin pie to 2/3 cup and thought I was being radical! Still, if you have never had a French pumpkin soup, you are missing out!

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  14. I've never been on the pumpkin bandwagon either, David. But crème brulee on the other hand... At any rate, this sounds divine and will be my Christmas dessert!

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    1. This is really good, Peg - it would be perfect for Christmas!

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  15. Oh my! I do love pumpkin in a dessert and this looks deeeeee-vine!

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    1. Well not a healthy walk in the park, Liz, every once in a while we need to splurge on Desserts like this one!

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  16. Well, this was one of two desserts we made for Thanksgiving. It was delicious...in spite of the fact that we forgot to put the pumpkin in and the funniest part is that no one knew the pumpkin was missing! Can't wait to try it with the pumpkin!

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    1. I laughed so hard when you told me you left out the pumpkin, Susan! But it makes perfect sense that it would still taste like pumpkin considering the spices. After all, they make a mock apple pie with Ritz crackers, right?

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  17. Thanks for the shout out David. I'll probably switch to white sugar when I get around to buying that darn torch instead of using the broiler :) . I think I'm a big pumpkin person simply because it seems so decadent to count your dessert as a serving of veggies :)

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    1. I like your idea of this being a serving of vegetables, Inger! Brilliant!

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  18. I don't crave pumpkin either, though this time of year I do love it. And a good creme brulee is one of my favorite desserts. I will try this recipe for sure!

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    1. Thanks, Valentina! I do love crème brûlée, too, with all variety of flavors! Everyone who made this for Thanksgiving loved it - glad to know it gets audience approval!

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  19. I'm totally with you on pumpkin, but I would love this dessert! Only change would be for me to skip the cloves (not a fan)! ;) Looks absolutely fabulous, David!

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    1. I think if you skip the cloves, no one will even notice! (One of my friends forgot the pumpkin and no one noticed!!!!)

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